Addison Township, Pa. – December 29 – The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) today announced the permanent protection of 90 acres in the Laurel Highlands adjacent to the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP).

The acquisition of this 90-acre tract in Addison Township, Somerset County, is one of four properties conserved in recent years along the GAP and adds to WPC’s now nearly 280-acre Casselman River Conservation Area.

The property protects water quality for the Casselman River and other nearby waterways – including the Youghiogheny River – with more than one-half mile of frontage containing steep forested slopes. Bald eagles can be seen flying overhead – evidence that its forests and dense vegetation provide excellent habitat for many wildlife species.

This property helps to maintain scenic views along the GAP and the Casselman River. Also, this acquisition is part of a broader effort supported by the Conservancy and local partners to address economic and conservation issues for all of the Laurel Highlands while building a corridor of protected lands along the trail. This property will now be open and accessible to the public for fishing, hiking and other forms of low-impact recreation.

The Family of B. Kenneth Simon provided the lead funding for the purchase of this property from Red Rock Enterprises, Inc., with additional funding provided through the McKenna Foundation and other public and private sources.

“The Great Allegheny Passage is one of the recreational treasures of our community,” said Thomas D. Saunders, president and CEO of WPC. “It’s an extraordinary trail, when you think that people can start biking or hiking at Point State Park in Pittsburgh and take continuous trails all the way to Cumberland, Maryland and then on to Washington, D.C. It is a pleasure to do these projects at the Conservancy where we fundraise for and then protect the key view properties along the trail. This property is a beautiful and important addition to the protected lands along the trail.”

The conservancy has a long history of land protection in the Laurel Highlands, with nearly 83,000 acres protected to date since 1951.


About the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy:

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) enhances the region’s quality of life by protecting and restoring exceptional places. A private nonprofit conservation organization founded in 1932, WPC has helped to establish ten state parks, conserved more than 252,000 acres of natural lands and protected or restored more than 3,000 miles of rivers and streams. The Conservancy owns and operates Fallingwater, which symbolizes people living in harmony with nature. In addition, WPC enriches our region’s cities and towns through 130 community gardens and other green spaces that are planted with the help of about 12,000 volunteers. The work of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is accomplished through the support of more than 10,000 members. For more information, visit

Media Contact:

Kristen Blevins
Communications Specialist